It’s My Birthday

My birthday is this week, and at least a few kind souls have asked what I would like to get.  So, here you go.

First, I would love to get some volunteers, partners, and donations for Mission: VALOR.  As part of this, I would love not only new likes to the page, but for people to share our posts on Facebook.  In order to generate revenue, Facebook has throttled back almost 99 percent on those who see our posts, and the only way to get them out without paying huge sums of money (IMO) is for many (and many!) people to share them.  We can use volunteers for almost anything and everything, and even an hour a week (heck, a few minutes) can be a huge help to us.  As with any charity, we can use some donations too.  More than that, looking for partners to grow.

Second, if you want to do something for me, hit the PayPal link to the right, or you can call the Pipe Puffer Cigar Shop at 317-881-2957 and do a gift certificate for almost any amount small or large over the phone.  Anything along those lines would be very much appreciated.

Meantime, glad to make another trip around the great fusion furnace in the sky.


Amazon Smile: For The Holidays and All Year


Amazon has grown to become a major part of our lives, to the tune of more than $88 billion in revenue in 2014.  Think about that number a minute, and then think about the Amazon Smiles program.  This is a program from Amazon that, if you enter Amazon through an Amazon Smile account link, a small percentage of your purchase will go to that charity.  Yes, it is a small percentage, but look at that total revenue and think what half a percent of that would be.

Right now, small charities — and I suspect military charities even more so — are struggling for donations.  Shopping Amazon via an Amazon Smile link costs you nothing, but it can provide much needed funds to the charity you find worthy.  The more who use it, and especially if you use it all year, the more that charity will get.

While I hope you will consider using the Mission: VALOR Amazon Smile link, I ask you to pick the charity of your choice and use that link now, and all year long.  It’s a small way to make a difference, and a potentially large difference at that without you having to fork out a dime.

New Short Story: Slaughterhouse

I’ve got a new military SF short story up on Kindle. Slaughterhouse begins exploring what happens when you have to fight an alien race that can be functionally invisible.  It is a steal at $0.99.

On the desert planet Uruk, a menace has emerged in the form of a reptiliod race that can be functionably invisible at need. Who are they? What are they? How do they do it? These questions are important, but more important to those sent to deal with them is how do you fight an enemy who is invisible until they attack? John Thornton has been sent to collect samples, or better yet a live prisoner, from a race that doesn’t take prisoners or leave them. Captain Winter is working to improve life for the humans in his area of operations. Their missions converge at a local meat processing plant, and the battle has just begun. A short story for your entertainment.

Let me know what you think.


Men of Harlech stop your dreaming, Can’t you see their spearpoints gleaming?

I remember this day.

It started like any other day, as I got in early to work at NASA.  Part of my morning duties included checking various newsfeeds and related things, and when the first report of a plane hitting the World Trade Center, I remember wondering if it was a small plane and how such could have happened.  Then came other reports, including an early one of an explosion at the Pentagon, and it was then I knew nothing was an accident, and I made the calls duty required.

I remember the shock that went through our office, and the building, and my efforts to get any information possible.  I remember the much needed laugh when I confirmed that the President was airborne, and Air Force One was in National Emergency Airborne Command Post mode (that’s not just limited to the E-4s).  My public shorthand called out to my manager that the President was KNEECAPed caused someone who shall remain nameless to think that an attacker had hit the President in the kneecap with a baseball bat…

I remember watching the news on televisions in various conference rooms, and the horror that ran through all when it was realized that it was not debris falling and jumping from the upper floors.  Of learning more about the Pentagon, of tales of planes down elsewhere, and the command to land all planes now.  Of wondering and worrying about people I knew at both locations.

I remember being ordered to evacuate, and driving home still in shock, angry, sad, and more.  We knew we had been hurt, and that far too many were dead; but, we still didn’t know the true toll.  Our thoughts had turned towards survivors, and I knew that around the country Nightingales were prepping to fly to New York to take survivors to selected burn and trauma centers around the country.  Would to God they had been needed.

I remember the dust still caking the streets and buildings of lower Manhattan, and the smell of baked lime (chemical, not the fruit) and burnt sweet pork.  Of being embarrassed by having an NYPD lieutenant drive me around to a day full of meetings.  Of learning how he had barely survived both collapses, as he ran towards the trouble to help.  Of being taken to Ground Zero, and watching the boots slowly melt off the workers as they searched their search.  Of a young NYPD officer who made sure I saw the Statue of Liberty “while it’s still here” even as we checked out a report of a possible body in the river.

Today, I remember all that and more.  Today, I remember Rick Rescorla, who’s preparations, quick thinking, and defiance of official orders allowed him to save 2,700 lives.  I remember that he, along with members of the NYFD, died going back in and up, to try to save more.

Today, I remember the dead.  Please remember and honor the 2,977 killed (no, not including the terrorists in that number, fuck them), and the more than 6,000 injured.

As for me:

I have not forgotten

I will not forget

I do not forgive

The war began before 9-11.  It is not over.  It has just barely begun.



My early thoughts are up at Blackfive, and I ask you to keep the families and friends of the fallen in your thoughts and prayers, and may the light shine down on them; my thanks to the First Responders, who kept this from being so much worse; and, my thoughts and prayers to the survivors who now have to deal with this.

My thanks to Gunny Popaditch for the image.

Pipes, Cigars, and More – Oh My!

A few weeks ago, I won a pipe tobacco blending contest that was part of a larger pipe event held at the Pipe Puffer Smoke Shop in Indianapolis/Greenwood (County Line Road across from Greenwood Mall).  My winning blend was Laughing Wolf #2 blend, which is English with a bit of a twist.  One of the prizes is that this blend can be ordered/bought at the Pipe Puffer.  They do phone orders (317-881-2957) and ship nationwide for a flat rate.  If you like pipe, you might also enjoy my “Highland Wake-Up” blend that has whiskey and two types of coffee (it’s my current favorite morning smoke).  No, I don’t make anything off this, just enjoying exploring and sharing.

There will be a Perdomo cigar event at the Pipe Puffer from 4-8 on 29 July. It will feature Perdomo’s Special Craft series, hand crafted for beer enthusiasts. Prices in the $7.99-$9.99 range. Not saying there might be some food and drink provided as well, but… Come on down!

July 4th

My post for July 4th is up at Blackfive.  Enjoy the day, but be prepared and “Be Careful Out There!”


I’ve held off on posting, but want to share a bit about my favorite geek wolf. She was good with people, and had a curiosity that was a delight to watch. Even more so, to my mind she was a geek, and loved to study things mechanical. Even in the main enclosure, there are buckets of water scattered around just in case, and one day I was changing these through the fence. This involved a rod/section-of-pipe that I used to empty the bucket and move it back into place before refilling. I spent about 30 minutes on one bucket because of Dharma. Not because she was objecting to the change, but because she was studying it — rather studying the hinge mechanism of the bucket and the motion created by the rod. I repeated several parts so she could study the motions from different angles and distances, especially up close with an intensity that was impressive. I did some things in very slow motion to help. She studied, looked, thought, and studied some more. I’m not sure she appreciated my comment that I gave thanks she did not have opposable thumbs, but… I caught her studying other things mechanical, such as gate hinges and latches, and was not surprised. She also very clearly understood leverage.

I’m often asked if I trust the wolves, and my reply is: I trust them to be wolves. They are, and for all they are habituated to humans, there are NOT domesticated. Wolves are not good, they are not evil, they simply are what they are.

Godspeed my sweet geek

Original Art For Sale

SitD1In addition to the original artwork by Mark Maxwell and Mark E. Rogers (and other neat things) for sale, I’m also putting “A Shot in the Dark” up for sale.  It’s a standard size (2×3 foot?) canvas, and the painting is oil on acrylic via a 20 gauge shotgun.  Asking $500, all offers considered, shipping not included.

Is it commentary on violence in society, war, or more?  Is it an ironic twist on weapons?  It can be whatever you want it to be if you buy it, though I will note that it is in part a commentary on a modern art exhibition I attended a while back.  I will cheerfully sign the canvas before shipping if desired.


Memorial Day

The genesis of this post started many years ago, and I tend to edit and revise it each year.  Maybe one day it will do justice to the day and those I remember on Memorial Day. 


Foster Powers USN, KIA 1945

Foster Powers USN, KIA 1945

To the God in Man displayed — Where’er we see that Birth, Be love and understanding paid As never yet on earth!

To the Spirit that moves in Man,
On Whom all worlds depend,
Be Glory since our world began
And service to the end!

Final stanzas, The Choice, Rudyard Kipling

Let me start with the end, instead of the beginning.  I am not asking that we make Memorial Day somber and solemn, a thing without levity or fun.  I know none who have served who would want that, particularly those who did not come home.  We should enjoy the day and the weekend in their honor, so that they and the reason for this day are not forgotten.

Continue reading